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Struthof - Natzweiler
The entrance to Struthof-Natzweiler
Konzentrationslager
"Death Camp"
My journey took me to the Alsace region of western France, also known as the Bas-Rhin, to a small village named Rothau, which is not far from the city of Strasbourg, which lies on the border to Germany.

The rolling hills and wooded slopes of the Vosges mountains gives one a serene feeling of peace and tranquillity, on this lovely summer day I drove up the twisting mountain road lined by pine forests, with the sun shining in the clear blue sky, and the clouds passing gently across the countryside. I had a strange feeling of trepidation as I neared the Death Camp Struthof - Natzwiler.
My trepidation was soon realised as I stopped at a road junction at the top of the hill. There were two signs on the post, one gave directions to the "Hotel and Bar" the other, which chilled me to the bone, "To Gas Chamber"

It wasn't far along the road before I could see the Gas Chamber, it was just a building but still had a menacing look and feel about it.

It brought to my mind the images and newsreels of the horror of the death camps, the tangled pile's of bodies, men, women and children, all thrown together. The immense suffering they endured still on their faces, twisted in agonising pain and terror.

"Arbeit macht frei"( work makes you free), was the despicable Nazi slogan placed on the gates of many death camps there to decieve those passing through its gates...... on their way to a certain death.

The gas chamber at Struthof.
The Gas Chamber at Struthof.
A wooden sign hung above the heavy barbed wire gates
Konzentrationslager
Struthof-Natzweiler
Black watchtower
Watchtower at the camp entrance.

I had arrived at the gates of this man made "Hell", that was constructed here in September of 1940. One cannot mistake the entrance to this monstrous place, or silhouetted against the clear blue sky, the imposing square shape of the black watchtowers.

Many thousands of prisoners had walked through these gates never to see freedom again, but only to wait for death in whatever barbaric way it was to be inflicted upon them. How sad I was to think that here was the place of such cruelty and suffering and where many thousands of people including the four women S.O.E. agents in the book (Flames in the Field) met their fate at the hands of the Nazi's. I could not comprehend the suffering that took place here only sixty years ago.

 
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